18th century ammunition at Fort TIconderoga, NY

The exhibit shown below is at Fort Ticonderoga, a large stone “star fort” built by the French in 1755 at the southern end of Lake Champlain where it is close to the Hudson River, a strategic military point at the time. In 1759 as part of the French and Indian War (Seven Years War to our European friends) the British captured the fort, and in 1775 colonial militia forces took it from the British and removed its artillery to Boston to beseige the British forces there. The Brits retook the fort in 1777 but abandoned it in 1781 when they lost the Saratoga campaign.
Today it is nicely restored as a museum (run by a private foundation, not state or federal park).

The descriptive label reads:

Cataloging the Ammunition Collection
Fort Ticonderoga houses one of the largest collections of 18th century military projectiles in the United States. [This was cataloged in 2016.]

What you see below is a small sample of that process. The make and model of all muskets, cannon, and mortars used at the Fort throughout the 18th century were carefully researched. French and British military ammunition standards were found and the collection was then painstakingly analyzed and divided into the many categories you see below. The four main categories were musket balls, grapeshot, cannonballs, and shells. The collection also includes a number of projectiles with military markings as well as imperfections such as casting flaws. Each individual specimen was weighed and measured, compared to the military standards of the day, then grouped according to size and respective weapon.

The largest category was British Land Pattern caliber musket balls at 2,500, while the smallest category was French 24 pound cannonballs of which we have one. In total Fort Ticonderoga has over 8,000 musket balls, 5,000 grapeshot, 1,000 cannonballs, and 100 shells. The count for the entire collection comes in at well over 15,000 objects.

(Excuse the poor photo quality due to reflections off the glass case.)


The cannon collection here and at West Point are two of the finest collections of cannons in the world. One of my oldest friends was the Fort Ti director for many years he retired a couple of years ago. Got to see a lot of the stuff that isn’t on display and in storage. Worth the time for a visit if in the area.